A man left stranded after an outback car crash in which his friend died was rescued more than 30 hours later after scrawling a series of SOS messages in the mud.

The 20-year-old was a passenger in a car that crashed 160 kilometres south-west of Winton on the Old Cork Road on Sunday morning.

The 19-year-old driver died at the scene and the survivor set off on foot for help.

He was found by a private helicopter yesterday afternoon about 14 kilometres from the crash site.

He is being treated at Winton Hospital for facial injuries, bruising and dehydration.

Sergeant Wayne Lynn says the man is lucky to be alive.

"From the time of the crash it was about 33 hours until the time he was located," he said.

"But he was continually leaving 'SOS' [marks] on the ground as he moved, with an arrow.

"Sometime in the afternoon of the second day he heard the chopper above him and saw the chopper pilot signal.

"He was laying in a shallow pool of water at that time."

 

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